Monday, August 31

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...

Church in the Home
Tomorrow (September 1st) is the Church New Year!  Have a look at Father Andrew Stephen Damick's Resolutions for Orthodox Christians and try to incorporate them into your life this year.   

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
This afternoon I made chocolate chip cookies.  I was feeling a little blue and baking always helps to make me feel better.  My favorite recipe for these treats is right on the back of the chocolate chip bag.  Yum!

I pinned a little treasure trove of stories of Motherhood Around the World that were posted on the blog A Cup of Jo.  There are over twenty different families featured to read through and I think that you'll really enjoy them!

Sugar Plum and I are fascinated by ballet and enjoyed watching First Position, a documentary from a few years ago.  It details the journey of six ballet students who compete in the Youth America Grand Prix.  We really enjoyed learning the stories of these young dancers.  It is available on Netflix and I also noticed that it was available at our local library to borrow.

My sister and I were able to visit an IKEA on our trip to Atlanta, Georgia last month and had a great time.  Our mom is setting up her pre-school classroom at her new school and we're hoping to take her on a little excursion to the Swedish superstore to find some organizational items for her classroom.  My wish list is pretty modest...  I'll show you what I end up finding later in the week.   

Saturday, August 29

Late August Bouquet...

Terry, the Flower Lady, outdid herself this week: lilies, oat grass, tuberose, and two different hydrangea stems, all in shades of while and the palest of pink. The scent is intoxicating.

Home Decorating Inspiration...

My Saturday has been spent sans little ones (they are visiting their grandmother for the day) and so I have been listening to an audio book and cleaning the house.  It was terribly quiet here, so I turned on one of my favorite films, Possession, during a little break.  It is a movie adaption of a book by A.S. Byatt, about two literary scholars who discover that two poets they have dedicated their lives to studying, were entangled in a secret love affair.  Though the story is very interesting, I really watch it for the clothing and the decor.  I looooove the amazing English scenery and Maud Bailey's office and apartment.  The layers of Pre-Raphaelite artwork (mostly postcards and prints, so very do-able), fresh flowers, books, pottery, and textiles are just beautiful.  Watching movies, looking through magazines, and scrolling through blogs are great ways to look for inspiration to re-arrange things in our home.  I have a few hours before the children come home and I think that I will try to freshen up the mantle.  It will be a fun challenge!  

Friday, August 28

This Week's Menu...

B:  Toast and Fruit
L:  Wedding Luncheon
D: Chicken Caesar Salad

B: Coffee Hour
L: Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus, Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, and Gravy
D: Leftovers from Roast Chicken Meal

B: Eggs, Bacon, and Toast
L: Frozen Pizza
D: Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles, Peas, and Buttermilk Biscuits with Butter and Jam

B:  Eggs, Bacon, and Toast
L:  Tortellini, Sausage, and Salad
D:  Leftovers

B:  Fruit and Bagels
L:  Tuna Salad on Toast, Pickles, Chips, and Cubed Watermelon
D:  College Going Away Party for Our Friend, Summer

B:  Waffles and Bacon
L:  Leftover Roast Chicken with Gravy and Egg Noodles
D:  Submarine Sandwiches and Chips before Outdoor Concert

B:  Fruit and Bagels
L:  Shrimp Fajitas, Guacamole, and Tortilla Chips
D:  Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches, Fruit, and Chips

Ice Cream
Peach, Nectarine, and Blueberry Torte

Plum Torte for Coffee Hour
Blueberry Custard Pie for Barbeque Pot Luck

The Things We Do: August...


Homeschooling is not just about our schoolbooks!  We also have an abundance of other activities that we take part in and I thought that I would share some of the things that we did during the month of August:

Saint Herman
Patronal Feastday of Our Parish (the Icon Not Made By Hands)
Roy and Mirona's Wedding 
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

Built houses out of playing cards
Letter writing 
Painting (creation of color wheels)
Painting on black canvas
Violin practice
Knitting and crocheting (washcloths and headbands for girls and for dolls- Sugar Plum)
Postcard writing
Built a fort on the edge of the woods
Rainbow scavenger hunt
Water play
Creation of multiple marble runs
Learned beginner's chess 
Played with play dough
Snap Circut Play
Watched YouTube video to learn Silent Night on violin (Sugar Plum) 
Played Old Maid

Out and About
Library visits (and signing up for our first library cards!)
Violin lessons
Hi-Yo Silver and the Lone Ranger Live Show at the library
Summer Reading Party at the Library
Peach and Nectarine Picking
Pool Playdate with friends
Parish Picnic
Visit to seaside town for sightseeing, ice cream, and dinner out
Picnic in the park
Family Ice Cream Date at Friendly's
Outdoor Concert featuring The Hunts
Ice Cream date with friends
BBQ at our friend's new house
Visit to the playground with Papa
Lunch with Grandfather and Father Samuel
Attended a going away party for our friend, Summer
Outdoor Concert featuring local amateur talent in our area

On the Television
Reading Rainbow episodes
First Position Documentary
Wartime Farm

Basketball with Papa (and church friends)
Watched tennis match and learned a few rules of the game

Spiders and their webs
Skink lizards  
First Gold and Russet Leaves

Thursday, August 27

The First Leaves Turning...


I know that we are weeks away from real autumn weather, but we have already spotted the first few golden and russet leaves in our woods.  We'll enjoy the heat of the sun while it is here, though...  September is the best time to go to the beach!

Roy + Mirona...

May God Grant You Many Years, Roy and Mirona!

Tuesday, August 25

The Little Joys...

Grandfather Bear and I were chatting today and he told me about an article he read that reported on a study on stress reducers.  According to the University of Sussex, reading something engrossing (for just 6 minutes) reduces stress by 68 percent, listening to music by 61 percent, enjoying a mug of tea or coffee reduces stress by 54 percent, and taking a walk by 42 percent.  

In our fast-paced world, it is easy to feel stressed, but what I love about this study is that it proves that the anecdote to the frenzy is the simple things in life.  It is so easy to listen to a little music while making a meal, enjoy a little tea or coffee break in the afternoon while the children play, take a little stroll in the twilight, or snuggle down with a good book just before turning out the lights.  These soothing little moments in a wild day, can really make the difference, don't you think?

Monday, August 24

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...


Church in the Home
This coming Saturday is the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.  One of the things that we like to do on that day (aside from attending the Liturgical services and observing the strict fast day) is to refrain from eating any foods that are round in shape (mainly fruits and vegetables) and to serve our meals in bowls rather than on plates or platters in remembrance of Herodias' request for Saint John's head to be brought to her on a platter.

In the News 
Last week I finished reading The Awakening of Miss Prim, which is the story of a young woman who takes a post as a librarian in a remote French village.  It was a lovely read and I was instantly drawn to the NPR piece on the market of Spanish villages for sale that I heard on my way to buy the newspaper on Sunday morning.

I am very excited that my sister, Juliana, has begun to blog.  She only has one or two posts up currently, but I am hopefully that she will write more about her life soon.  Her latest post is particularly beautiful...  it is the story of her son's birth!

In a special edition of Ancient Faith Today, Kevin speaks, in this extensive interview, with David Daleiden, the director of the Center For Medical Progress, the pro-life activist organization that planned and produced the ​exposé videos that have shaken the abortion industry in the United States.  Have a listen, HERE

In the Kitchen
I made a big batch of Beef Stroganoff tonight!  It is my husband's favorite dinner and though it takes a lot of pots, quite easy to make.  The recipe I follow is from Joy of Cooking (hands down, my favorite cook book!)...  we're probably more than a month  away from being really able to get down to business with good warming dinners, but I feel like Stroganoff bridges the gap between summer foods and autumn foods.  Do you know what I mean?

Sunday, August 23

The Last Week of August...


How are we in the last week of August?  This month has positively flown by.     These last few days have been busy ones with a wedding on Saturday, all of the regular weekend church services, a barbeque at a friend's beautiful new house on Sunday afternoon, a movie date with my mother-in-law on Sunday evening, house cleaning (in preparation for my father-in-law's visit this week), and a full week of school and violin.  

We are reaching the end of our first month of homeschooling three little ones and it is going well.  I am glad that we began a bit early, mostly because of the plans we have in October, but also because it gave us time to adjust to our school work before the September start of some of the classes we attend.   It's hard to transition right into school, classes, and activities.

Despite the busyness of our weekend, I still found a bit of time to bake.  I made a plum torte with some locally picked plums from the farm stand up the road (this was served at coffee hour on Sunday after Liturgy), a blueberry custard pie (we brought this to our friend's barbeque), and finally a peach, nectarine, and blueberry torte (I used the last of the peaches and nectarines we picked a few weeks ago in this version of the plum torte).  I would like to get a few more pounds of peaches and nectarines from the orchard near us, but I'm not sure if that will be possible.  We'll be plucking rosy apples off the trees next! 

Saturday, August 22

The Dog Days of August...



The sprinkler twirls.
The summer wanes.
The pavements wears
Popsicle stains.

The playground grass
Is worn to dust.
The weary swings
Creak, creak with rust.

The trees are bored
With being green.
Some people leave
The local scene.

And go to seaside
And take off nearly 
All their clothes. 

John Updike

Thursday, August 20

Diary of a Young Wife...

For about a year before I started this journal of our days, I attempted to blogged at Diary of a Young Wife.    I really regret deleting that first blog because I enjoy looking back through this one to remember the things that happened in our lives at different times.  Fortunately, my friend Courtney let me know about The Way Back Machine.  It has nine different pages of Diary of a Young Wife archived, so I was able to look back on some of my days as a new wife, expectant mama, mediocre housewife, and first grade teacher.  I am pretty sure that I posted a lot more than was saved, but I am thankful to have these little snippets of our first year of marriage.  I manually imported fourteen posts to this blog for posterity's sake.  Click through to see what a silly-heart I was!   

The Hunts...


  Though I had good intentions to attend loads of outdoor concerts and performances with the trio this summer, it didn't happen until tonight.  We were able to see The Hunts play nearby and were thrilled with their music.  Have a listen below:

Tuesday, August 18

Fir Wreath...


I couldn't wait to knit with the Madeline Tosh Fir Wreath sock yarn anymore, so I wound it into two cakes and cast on to a Present Cowl.  I am holding the yarn double (my first time), using a size 8 needle, and I cast on 220 stitches.  It is a very simple pattern that uses only knitting and purling to achieve a striped look.

Monday, August 17

Living and Learning: The Week Ahead...


When I sat down with my knitting on Saturday night to watch a little television and knit, I discovered that the remote for our Amazon Fire was missing (our favorite way to watch Netflix, YouTube, and Prime videos).  We've looked all over and cannot find it.  Today I took the whole living room apart and cleaned under couches and sorted through baskets, cleaned the floor, and dusted all the corners in an effort to locate it.  Things are pretty topsy-turvy here after our busy summer, so I think that I will used this week to really clean things up while I search for the remote.  I've already found lots of lost things (a huge pile of Legos, several blocks missing from a set, lots of pennies, a ruler, and a screwdriver).

I spotted a quick blurb about the book, The Awakening of Miss Prim, on the Amongst Lovely Things Facebook page.  I've read about half of it and must say that it is wonderful!  A lyrical piece of fiction that mentions the writings of Saint John Chrysostom, Rublev's Holy Trinity, Simonos Petros, among others is such a wonderful treat!  

Kitchen, Pantry, Table
It's all about the peaches and nectarines in our kitchen this week!

My favorite tee shirts are back in stock at Target and I ordered three (two xavier navy and one  Kelp green).  I already have several black and white ones (as well as a few striped from several seasons ago).  Do you like to buy multiples of clothing that you like?

I downloaded iHeartRadio onto my phone this past week and have been listening to my favorite New York radio stations ever since.  I am a huge fan of the Pandora app, but it is nice to mix it up a bit and hear some commentary from the radio personalities that I grew up with.  We've been listening to the radio at a low volume at breakfast time and it adds such a nice ambiance to our morning activities.

Sunday, August 16

A Summer Sunday...

I wish that you could smell the tuberose that I bought yesterday at the Farmer' Market.  I went very early yesterday morning so that I would have something special to have blessed after the Liturgy for Dormition.  Our flower lady concocted a bouquet of all white flowers for me and it looks amazing on the dining room table.

I baked the blueberry custard pie after lunch and it is as amazing as I had hoped.  It really is a nice summery dessert...  or maybe even breakfast!  One of our parishioners gave me a package of fresh bacon from her butcher (she knows the way to my heart!) and I already have plans for it.  Don't you think that a Monday morning breakfast of eggs and bacon with a side of blueberry pie sounds like the perfect way to start the week?

Saturday, August 15


Miss Prim, did you know that Emily Brontë studied German while things were baking in the oven?" asked little Eksi out of the blue that morning, as she busied herself shaping a tiny portion of pastry taken from the main tart.

"No, dear, I had no idea, but it sounds very interesting.  I suppose your uncle told you about it?"

"No, he doesn't know much about that sort of thing.  Uncle Horacio told me.  He says she used to pace up and down the kitchen with a German textbook in her hand while she was keeping an eye on the bread in the oven.  Isn't that lovely?"

The Awakening of Miss Prim
Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Joyous Feast!

In giving birth thou preservest thy virginity, 
In falling asleep thou did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. 
Thou wast translated to life, O Mother of Life, 
And by thy prayers, thou deliverest our souls from death.


The Learning Basket for Dormition can be found HERE.  

Thursday, August 13

Peaches and Nectarines...


Today was peach picking day!  We were fortunate that there were also nectarines ready at the orchard, as well, so we picked both...  some to keep and some to share with friends and family.  It will be a few days before we can eat them.  For now, they are tantalizing us from the counter in the kitchen.  
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